Wm. V. Geis, Far Rockaway, N.Y.



The March 3, 1899 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the formation of a new corporation called Kirkman, Rae & Geis. William V. Geis was named as one of the three principals.

Walter B. Kirkman, Albert F. Rae of Far Rockaway, and William V. Geis of 218 East One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Street, Manhattan, have associated together under the incorporated name of Kirkman, Rae & Geis for the manufacture of mineral waters and other similar beverages. The capital stock is $7,500 and its principal place of business will be at far Rockaway.

The 1899 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens listed the business of Kirkman, Rae & Geis in Far Rockaway at William n Crescent, Far Rockaway, under both ‘bottlers” and “manufacturers of mineral water” headings. Subsequently, the 1903, 1907, 1908-1909 and 1912 Trow Business Directories of the Borough of Queens all listed Wm V. Geis at the same location. Based on these records, I’m guessing Geis bought out Kirkman and Rae and became a sole proprietor sometime between 1899 and 1901.

In addition to mineral water, Geis also bottled beer, apparently acting as an agent and bottler for Pabst. He placed an advertisement in the “Wave of Long Island”, a weekly newspaper for delivery of two-dozen bottles of Pabst for $1.25. The advertisements were found in the Sept 7, 1901 and July 5, 1902 issues.


In 1909, Geis joined with Sidney Jackier forming the Geis-Jackier Company. An item in the November 27, 1909 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:

Articles of incorporation of the Geis-Jackier Company of the Borough of Queens have been filed with the State Department. The capital is $10,000. The directors are Sidney Jackier, William V. Geis, Hattie Jackier and Elsie C. Geis of Far Rockaway.

Sidney Jackier had signed a five year lease to operate the Haffner Neptune Park Hotel in August of 1909, two months prior to incorporating Geis-Jackier. I suspect that the business served as the bottling and catering operation for the hotel.

Geis-Jackier was named as a Far Rockaway bottler in a listing of Long Island Industrial Establishments contained in the September 8, 1910 issue of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and they were listed in the Brooklyn and Queens section of the NY Telephone Book in 1910, 1914 and 1915 (the only editions I could find).

It’s possible that both Wm V. Geis and Geis-Jackier operated out of the same location. Geis-Jackier’s listed address was Crescent Opposite William while Wm V. Geis listed their address as William near Crescent.

Geis-Jackier only stayed in business until 1913 or 1914. According to a story in the October 23, 1915 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jackier gave up the lease for the hotel after four years and had been declared bankrupt. Coincidently, the last listing I can find for Wm V. Geis is in the 1912 Trow Business Directory.

By the late teens Geis had become the proprietor of the Hewlett Inn on Long Island.

He was no longer listed in the Queens telephone books by 1914 so I’m guessing that he moved to Long Island and became associated with the Inn around the time that the Geis-Jackier business came to an end. I haven’t seen a Geis bottle with “Hewlett” embossing so I have to think he was out of the bottling business by this time.

He remained with the Hewlett Inn until his tragic accidental death in 1921. According to a story in the October 15, 1921 issue of the N.Y. Times he died in an accidental shooting.

While preparing to start on a hunting trip in the Adirondacks early yesterday morning, William V. Geis, proprietor of the Hewlett Inn at Hewlett, L.I., was accidentally shot by Paul Weidman of Woodmere, L.I., one of three friends who were to have accompanied him. Geis was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital at Far Rockaway, where he died several hours later. When dying he made a statement to Justice of the Peace Raisig exonerating Weldman from all blame.

Weidman, dazed from what had just occurred, ran from the house after the shooting, muttering that if his friend died he would end his own life. Up until late last night Weidman, who is a prosperous bus owner, had not returned home and his family were apprehensive. Mrs. Elsie Geis, widow of the dead man, also exonerated Weidman.

Sheriff Charles Smith, after an investigation, said he was entirely satisfied that the gun had been accidentally discharged by Weidman during an exhibition as to how he would handle a hold-up man if the occasion arose.

Whatever became of Paul Weidman is unknown.

Both Crescent and William in Far Rockaway have changed names over the years. Crescent is now Brunswick and William is now Wheatley. Wheatley near Brunswick puts the business about a block from the LIRR Far Rockaway station.

I’ve found varying type bottles, including tooled blob tops (8oz), tooled crowns (8, 12 and 28 oz) and machine made crowns (8 and 28 oz). The 12 oz bottles were brown…maybe containing the Pabst Blue Ribbon mentioned in the advertisement? All others are aqua. The pictures show an assortment of mouth blown bottles. All are embossed Far Rockaway.

Joseph Fallert Brewing Co., Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y.

Joseph Fallert, the founder of the Joseph Fallert Brewing Company, was a German immigrant who in the 1870 census records listed himself as the “foreman” in a “brewery.” According to an undated biographical sketch of Fallert found on brookstonbeerbulletin.com, the brewery likely belonged to Otto Huber and was one of several breweries that Fallert worked at prior to opening his own brewery.

By 1880 Joseph Fallert was listed individually in the Brooklyn directories as a brewer located at his long time plant location of 66 (52-66) Meserole Street. This is in general agreement with later Fallert advertisements that indicate that the business was established in 1878.

Fallert was listed this way through 1887 at which time the business was incorporated in New York State. The incorporation notice was printed in the March 16, 1887 edition of the (Brooklyn) Times Union.

The 1889 Directory reflected the name change to the “Joseph Fallert Brewing Co., Ltd. At this point the business listed both an office address of 86 Lorimer Street and plant address of 60 Meserole Street. In the 1904 Directory, the office location moved to 346 Lorimer Street.

In July, 1893 Joseph Fallert passed away and his son, also named Joseph, took over management of the business. Fallert, Jr.’s obituary, in the March 24, 1919 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

Mr. Fallert was born in Brooklyn and educated in the Brooklyn public schools. He went abroad as a young man and studied the brewing business, and following the death of his father, Joseph Fallert, many years ago, succeeded him as president of the Fallert Brewery, to which he devoted all his business lifetime. He was a practical brewer himself and personally supervised all the workings of the establishment.

The 1913 – 1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens listed Joseph Fallert Jr. as president and his brothers Bertold  and Charles as vice president/secretary and treasurer respectively.

A publication called “One Hundred Years of Brewing,” published in 1901 by H. S. Rich & Co, included an item on the Fallert business stating that the brewery introduced artificial refrigeration in 1886 and established their bottling works in 1892.

This rendering of the Fallert plant appeared  in a publication called “Bushwick and Her Neighbors, Vol 2,” published in 1909.

Fallert marketed several brews under what they called their “Arrow Brand,” as evidenced by their 1897 calendar.

The Joseph Fallert Brewing Co., Brooklyn N. Y. hereby announces that they have adopted and registered labels on their arrow-brand “Alt-Bayerisch,” “Standard” and “Superb” Beer.

This advertisement that appeared in the January 30, 1897 edition of the New York Tribune appears introductory in nature, suggesting that they began bottling the brand sometime in 1896.

A series of advertisements in December 1896/January 1897 editions of the ‘Brooklyn Eagle” described Alt-Bayerisch as:

A dark beer especially brewed and bottled for family use where a strengthening and healthy beverage is necessary. It’s a food.


Later, from 1908 through the mid-teens, advertisements for their bock beer also ran in the local newspapers.

Joseph Fallert Jr. passed away in March, 1919 leaving management of the business to his brothers, Berthold and Charles.

It’s not clear if the business continued to operate during and after National Prohibition. The business was listed in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens and continued to be listed as the Joseph Fallert Brewing Company at the 346 Lorimer Street office location through the late 1930’s. After Prohibition, in the classifieds (today’s yellow pages) for 1935 and 1936 they were listed under beverages even though classifications such as beer, beer gardens, brewers or bottlers were available to them. In the 1940’s they were still listed in the general phone books at the same address but dropped the word “Brewing” from the company name. By 1950 I don’t see them listed at all.

It’s worth noting that I haven’t been able to find any Fallert advertisements during or after Prohibition so it appears they may have been operating in name only. Prior to Prohibition they advertised quite a bit.

It appears that several buildings associated with the brewery are still standing including the offices at 346 Lorimer Street.

I found two champagne style 12 oz Joseph Fallert Brewing Co. Ltd bottles each with the trademark Arrow embossed on it. One is a tooled blob, the other a tooled crown. Both were manufactured no earlier than 1896, recognizing that that’s when Fallert began bottling the brand.  The blob probably dates to the late 1800’s – early 1900’s and the crown early 1900’s.



Excelsior Brewing Co., 271 Pulaski Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.


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The driving force behind the Excelsior Brewing Company was John Reisenweber who was the owner of a restaurant called “Reisenweber’s at the Circle.” Located at Columbus Circle, it was one of the oldest and most popular New York City restaurants at the time. His entry into the brewing business and the early history of the brewery was described in a section of the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader entitled “Industry and Commerce” published on May 23, 1908.

Scores of New York’s prominent citizens and many thousands whose frames are not enrolled in any Hall of Fame have quaffed the foaming steins of beer dispensed at the popular hostelry and restaurant of mine host John Reisenweber at Columbus Circle, but few of them are aware, perhaps, that the grateful beverage served there has been brewed under the vigilant eye of the genial hotel man himself. To them it will be interesting to learn that Mr. Reisenweber is the president and active head of the Excelsior Brewing Company, whose large plant at Hart and Pulaski Streets, Brooklyn, N.Y., is a worthy example of a large industry.

What is now the Excelsior Brewery was established in 1890 by the Fred Hower Brewing Company. This company went into bankruptcy in 1895, and the brewery was taken over by the John Kart Malting Company of Buffalo, a creditor. In 1898 a number of gentlemen engaged in the liquor business in Greater New York conceived the idea of co-operating in the establishment of a modern brewing plant. The leader in the movement was John Reisenweber and associated with him were Frederick D. Frick, Charles P. Faber, Franz Neumuller and others…

Casting about them for a suitable site, they learned that the Hower plant was in the market, bought it, and on the 16th of May, 1898, took possession. The new owners almost immediately took steps to remodel the then small brewery. They built extensive additions, including new cellars, which increased the storage capacity from 75,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels, and installed a new 75-ton refrigerating machine and complete set of new boilers.

As a result of these extensive alterations, which cost $200,000, the Excelsior Brewery today is second to none in New York in point of modern equipment, and ranks among the largest in point of capacity and output. The buildings, which are fireproof, are up to date in every detail. The company owns a plot equal to 33 city lots, having a frontage of 700 feet on Pulaski Street and running through to Hart Street. The output, which was only 20,000 barrels in 1895, was gradually increased to 160,000 barrels last year. To operate the brewery requires over eighty employees, while 95 horses, 38 wagons and 2 electric trucks are required for the distribution of the output. This output, besides having many consumers in Greater New York, is shipped to points on Long Island, in New Jersey and Connecticut. The value of the plant has practically trebled and it is today worth about $1,500,000.

Four grades of beer are brewed – Real German Lager, Pilsner Bohemian and Wurzburger. In quality they are equal to the best imported product and their popularity is attested by the strong and growing demand for them.

The officers of the company are John Reisenweber, President; Franz Neumuller, Vice President; Frederick Frick, Treasurer, and Charles P. Faber, Secretary.

The feature mentioned that the Reisenweber ownership group took possession of the plant in May of 1898. It wasn’t long after that the brewery reopened. The August 1898 issue of the “American Brewers Review” announced that:

The newly organized Excelsior Brewing Co of Brooklyn NY was opened on July 31, 1898. Some German singing societies were invited among others who helped entertain the visitors by a number of songs. The favor accorded to the new brew must have given John Knoll, the brew-master, intense satisfaction. The guests were received by Franz Neumueller, the first vice president and Ernst Distler, the superintendent.

An advertisement published in March of 1909, provided an overall picture of the plant less than a year after the feature was written.

The Bottling Department of the brewery was apparently run by John H Muller. His name appears on an October 5, 1907 advertisement that touted the same four beers mentioned in the 1908 feature: Pilsner, Real German, Bohemian and Wurzburger.

The 1913-1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens continued to list John Reisenweber Pres, Frederick D Fricke Tres and Charles P Faber Sec. Frick was an old time New York hotel man who owned Earle’s Hotel on Waverly Place. Faber, also in the hotel business, was a director of the Dollar Savings Bank.

A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” provided a review of brewery activities (during prohibition) that stated that the Excelsior Brewery was operating a cold storage plant and was producing cereal beverages. In May 1923 the plant apparently closed and was sold at public auction.


The plant in Brooklyn ultimately sold for $500,000 and the Excelsior Brewing Company was dissolved in August of 1924. The July 1, edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote:

The dissolution of the Excelsior Brewing Company, 254 Hart St., another victim of the Volstead law, will be completed by August 15, as the result of an order signed today by Justice Callaghan, setting that date as a limit for the filing of any claims against the defunct corporation. The certificate of dissolution was filed today in the County Clerk’s office and the petition to Justice Callaghan by John Reisenweber, who was president of the corporation, states that all of the presented claims have been paid.

Four years later the plant was operational again producing a “near” beer called “OLDe KEG” under the name of Excelsior Brewery, Inc.

While Olde Keg may have been “Within the Law,” other beverages being produced by the brewery in the late 1920’s apparently were not. On August 8,1930, the current reputed owner, Charles I. Mandel, was arrested and the brewery seized for violation of the prohibition law. This followed a seizure the day before of equipment for bottling and distributing beer in a garage on DeKalb Avenue, a block away. The prohibition agents contended that they traced a pipeline through an old sewer trench from the garage into the brewery. Later the arrest and seizure were voided on the grounds that the federal agents failed to obtain a search warrant prior to invading the premises.

Nonetheless, the brewery was seized again in August of 1931. This seizure was also set aside even though 35,000 gallons of beer were found on the premises. It was ruled that the search warrant was obtained on insufficient evidence.

In 1932, the plant was sold to a group of Manhattan purchasers headed by Samuel Rosoff, a contractor and subway builder. It operated as the Kings Brewery from 1932 to 1938 when it was closed after an attempted reorganization in 1937.

A community school is currently located at the former brewery location.

I have three bottles from this business. One is a champagne style tooled blob embossed Excelsior Bottling Dept that probably goes back to the beginning of the Reisenweber ownership. The bottle also has the initials JHM embossed on it which stand for John H Muller. The two other bottles are champagne style tooled crowns from 1900-1910.


H. M. Eilenberg, Phillipsburg, N.J.

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It appears that John Eilenberg, and later his son Henry M Eilenberg, operated a wholesale liquor business on S Main St in Phillipsburg NJ.

According to his obituary, published in the December 29, 1922 issue of the Plainfield Courier News, John Eilenberg was a long time resident of Phillipsburg.

Mr. Eilenberg was born in Sussex County and went to the schools there. He started to work as a telegraph operator for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. He moved from Philadelphia to Phillipsburg in 1860, and has lived there since. He was a wholesale liquor dealer until twenty-one years ago. He was one of the oldest active building and loan officials, having been for fifty-one years secretary of the Building and Loan Association No. 5 of Phillipsburg. He held the position until his death.

As president of the town council and a member of that body for a number of years Mr. Eilenberg was identified with many activities here.

Eilenberg listed his occupation as “attend liquor store” in the 1880 census records, so the business extended back at least that far, however, its possible that it goes back even further. In 1870, census records listed his occupation as a merchant and the 1873 Phillipsburg Directory listed his occupation as a clerk, so a start in the 1860’s is not out of the question.

Based on the directory information that I could find the business was located at 533 South Main up until at least 1894. One directory, “The Warren County History and Directory or the Farmer’s Manual and Business Men’s Guide – 1886” contained a printed advertisement.

Sometime between 1894 and 1898 the business moved to 362 South Main. In the 1906 and 1908 Directories, John’s son, Henry M Eilenberg was listed as a wholesale liquor dealer at the same location. Presumably Henry took over the business in 1901 if the information in the obituary is correct.

Around this time an item in a local publication referred to the business as: H M Eilenberg, Bartholomay’s Beer, S Main St in Phillipsburg. Based on this it looks like the business served as the beer company’s local agent and bottler for a while.

In the 1910 directory, the business was no longer mentioned and Henry’s occupation was listed as a machinist.

The 525 S Main Street address is currently a vacant lot. 362 South Main is an older three story apartment building with commercial stores at street level and could date back to the business.

The bottle I found is 8 oz and embossed “H.M. Eilenberg. It looks like a soda water although I guess it could have contained Bartholomay beer. It’s a tooled crown so it fits within the time frame that John’s son Henry ran the business.

Peter Doelger, Brewer, New York

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Peter Doelger’s obituary, published in the December 16, 1912 issue of the New York Tribune, provides some information on his life and the early years of his brewery.

Mr. Doelger was born at Kleinwallstadt, in the province of Oberfranken, Bavaria, on March 3, 1832. His father conducted in the village a small but prosperous brewery, in which he made a dark brown beer whose fame spread beyond the province. Peter Doelger was one of six children all of whom learned the trade in their father’s brewery. In 1850 Mr. Doelger came to New York to join his brother, Joseph, who proceeded him by two years. The following year Mr. Doelger went to Savannah, but with his brother soon returned to this city and started a brewery in 2d Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. In 1859 Peter started a brewery for himself, and the same year married Miss Margarethe Lambrecht.

There being very few breweries in the city at that time, the one operated by Peter Doelger grew amazingly, his beer becoming so popular that in 1863 it was necessary for him to purchase four lots in East 55th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A. Today there stands the big brewery that embraces the entire block between 55th and 56th Streets, First Avenue and Avenue A. It is said to be one of the most modern breweries in the country.

The early New York City directories generally confirm the above information. In the mid 1850’s, Joseph Doelger is listed as a brewer at 156 3rd St (not 2nd St). In 1859 Peter Doelger is listed for the first time as brewer at 93 Avenue A.

Between 1860 and 1863, the business of Doelger and Schaefer, brewers, was listed with two addresses: 98 Avenue A and East 55th Street, near Avenue A.  By 1865, the Doelger and Schaefer name was gone and Peter Doelger, brewer, was listed at East 55th Street where it remained until the late 1920’s. The early 20th century version of the plant was depicted in this March 14, 1909 advertisement printed in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

After his death, his sons Peter Jr. and Charles continued to run the business. Around this time, it appears that the business was also incorporated. The 1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory lists the business as the Peter Doelger Brewing Co., Inc., located at 407 E 55th Street. Peter Jr. was named president and Charles was secretary.

Doelger’s beer was called Peter Doelger’s First Prize Beer. An 1879 advertisement compares sales in 1877 – 78 to 1878 – 79.

Available on draught from the start in 1859, they began bottling it in 1911. A May 9, 1911 advertisement touted: “Science Triumphant at Peter Doelger’s Magnificent New Bottling Department.” In part the advertisement read:

With the scraping of trowels and the clanking of hammers barely stilled, the most scientifically equipped and sanitarily perfect bottling plant in the world stands ready for the push of the electric button which will set its wonderful machinery in motion.

On May 9th, the New Bottling Department of the Peter Doelger First Prize Brewery will begin to bottle its peerless product expressly for the home…

For more than half a century, Peter Doelger First Prize Beer has held undisputed supremacy over all other brews. Since 1859 this healthful liquid food has been drawn directly from the barrel to delight the palate of the connoisseur.

Today, thanks to the unceasing efforts of our experts, aided by the remarkable advance of science, Peter Doelger First Prize Beer will for the fist time be sold to you in bottles; a worthy tribute to the brewers and bottlers highest art.

Another advertisement, this one in 1916, now called it “First Prize Bottled Beer” and touted it as “The one beer that is worth it’s weight in gold as a nerve, body and strength builder.


Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisements from March 9, 1924 and August 8, 1926 demonstrate that they were brewing near-beer under the Doelger name during Prohibition.

Sometime in the late 1920’s The business sold the East 56th Street brewery and moved to Brooklyn. A September 1, 1929 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle referenced the Doelger Brewery in an article that discussed the trend of old brewery sites on Manhattan’s east side being replaced with apartment buildings.

The Doelger brewery property is on the block bounded by Sutton, 1st Ave., 55th and 56th Sts., held at $5,500,000 and is reported to be sold to builders for re-improvement with fine apartment houses. The site is 200×613.

Around this time, the business moved to Monteith Street and Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn then, in 1936, they leased the Hauch Brewery in Harrison NJ. The Harrison N.J. location was included on this 1937 advertisement.

The brewery closed in 1947 or 1948.  An item in the April 13, 1948 issue of the Plainfield Courier News declared the business bankrupt.

Federal Judge Thomas F. Meaney yesterday declared the Peter Doelger Brewing Corporation of Harrison bankrupt and ordered it liquidated.

A tall modern residential building currently occupies the Manhattan brewery site. It’s not old enough to be the building that originally replaced the brewery

The bottle I found is machine made and dates no earlier than 1911 when their bottling plant opened. It matches the bottle shown in this 1916 advertisement.


Peter had a brother Joseph whose family also operated a brewery on 55th Street at 234 East 55th Street. The brewery was originally listed in the directories under Joseph Doelger (1904 and earlier) and later under Joseph Doelger’s Sons (1907 and later).

Consumers Brewery, Bottling Dept., New York


Back in the late 1800’s it seems like there’s a Consumers Brewery in every town in America. In New York alone I could find the Consumers Star Brewing Co and the Consumers Park Brewing Co, both in Brooklyn. Manhattan had the Manhattan Consumers Brewing Company and the Consumers Brewing Co, Ltd.

It appears to me that the bottle (by process of elimination) is associated with the Consumers Brewing Co., Ltd for the following reasons:

  • Brooklyn based companies typically embossed the location on their bottles “Brooklyn NY” not “New York”
  • The Manhattan Consumers Brewing Co, 530 W 57th St, was short lived and out of business by 1905 according to the July 1, 1905 issue of the “American Brewers Review”. It looks like Consumers Park Brewing Co bought it out around that time. The bottle I found is machine made and most likely made after 1905.

The Consumers Brewing Company Ltd first appeared in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories in 1890 at 21 Park Row. By 1892 their location had changed to Avenue A between 54th and 55th Streets, where they remained through the late 1920’s. The Directories I could find between 1902 and 1919 listed them as a corporation with capital of $600,000 located at 1011 Avenue A. (Note that originally Avenue A was the name of the north-south street immediately east of First Avenue. It was non-continuous and only existed where it fit geographically between First Avenue and the East River. It once included today’s Sutton Place and York Avenue.)

An October 6, 1912 advertisement in The “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” touted their lager beer.

While another in the October 9, 1915 edition of the same newspaper says “Try Our Columbia and Special Dark Beer.

Also listed separately in each of the Directories between 1902 and 1915 is the Consumers Bottling Co (RTN) located at 402 E 49th Street. Located about 5 blocks from the brewery, it was probably their bottling operation (or department as the bottle is embossed) although there are no principals listed that were associated with both companies.

It looks like Prohibition put an end to brewery operations in Manhattan. On February 23, 1920, they sold most, if not all, of the components associated with their distribution system, including 27 brewery trucks and 37 horses.

The 55th Street brewery complex itself  came to an end sometime in the mid to late 1920’s when it was sold to the Tischman Realty Company. A story in the May 27, 1928 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle entitled “Apartment Block for Brewery Site to Cost $6,000,000” told the story.

Among the large Manhattan building projects to follow deals closed in the boro during the past week is an apartment structure to cover the block front on the west side of Sutton Pl., from 54th to 55th St., which, it is estimated, will involve about $6,000,000.

The site for the building was purchased by the Tischman Realty Co., Inc. from the Consumers Brewing Company, and contains approximately 40,000 square feet.

A NY Daily News aerial photo of the Manhattan brewery complex is presented below.


The newspaper dates the photograph as 1931, but based on the Brooklyn Eagle story it may have been taken several years earlier.

After Prohibition, there was a  Consumers Brewing Company located in Long Island City that listed their address as 29-08 Northern Blvd. They were listed at that location as late as 1940.

Currently, an apartment building occupies the Manhattan brewery site. According to street easy.com it’s a “white glove” coop that was built in 1955, so it’s not the building that originally replaced the brewery. An office tower occupies the bottling plant.

The bottle has an export style and is machine made (12 ounce).


Beadleston and Woerz, Empire Brewery, New York


New York City brewing company Beadleston & Woerz was established in 1878 and later incorporated in 1889.

The history of the company however begins about a half century earlier in upstate Troy, New York. Much of this history was recounted in a 1903 supplement to a publication called “The Western Brewer,” entitled “One Hundred Years of Brewing.” The piece on Beadleston & Woerz included within the supplement  begins:

In 1825, Abraham Nash founded a small ale brewery at Troy, New York, soon afterward forming a partnership with his son under the firm name of Nash & Co. As their business extended it was found necessary to establish an agency in New York City for the sale of their ales. Ebenezer Beadleston, a relative, who had been engaged at Troy, in various business occupations for many years, was selected for their agent, and in 1837 located in the metropolis for the purpose of extending the business in that locality.

Beadleston established an office in New York City at the corner of Washington Street and Dry Street where he’s first listed in the 1838/1839 New York City directory.

Three years later, in 1840, Beadleston was made a principal and the firm name was changed to Nash, Beadleston & Company. By then their Cream, Pale and Amber Ales were being sold downstate, not only in Manhattan but also in neighboring Brooklyn, as evidenced by this advertisement that consistently appeared in 1840 and 1841 editions of the Long Island Star.

In the mid-1840’s the company made the decision to open a brewery downstate and purchased property on the west side of Manhattan in Greenwich Village.  The property was included in the block bounded by Washington, West, Charles and West 10th Streets that at one time had served as a New York State prison, prior to the opening of Sing Sing in 1828. According to the Western Brewer supplement:

The old State Prison, whose buildings were occupied as a brewing and malting plant, was constructed of stone and surrounded by a high wall. The wall was torn down when the property was purchased by Nash, Beadleston & Company who used the cells for malting rooms and built three stories upon the massive foundation.

Called the Empire Brewery, it opened for business in 1846 as a branch of the Troy brewery. Two sketches, one depicting the old prison in 1814, and another showing the brewery when it opened in 1846, accompanied the Western Brewer story.

The Empire Brewery continued to operate as a  branch of the Troy brewery up until 1856 when the two separated and the New York business continued under the name Beadleston & Nash.

In 1860 Nash retired and was succeeded by a long time employee, W. W. Price. Around the same time E. G. W. Woerz took charge of the practical and technical end of the business. This resulted in an 1865 reorganization at which time the name Beadleston, Price & Woerz was adopted. The company continued to operate under this name until 1878 when it was changed to Beadleston & Woerz. The Western Brewer summarized the events that lead up to this final name change, beginning with the permanent retirement of Ebenezer Beadleston.

The firm remained thus until 1871 when Ebenezer Beadleston retired permanently in favor of his son, the late William H. Beadleston, who had become connected with the firm in 1870. Mr. Price died in 1876 leaving his share in the business to his son, Walter J. Price. In 1878 the latter retired and the firm of Beadleston & Woerz was organized.

Throughout the 1870’s and early 1880’s the brewery grew and modernized until, in 1881, they began brewing lager beer in addition to their porters and ales. According to the Western Brewer it was around this time that the last vestige of the old prison disappeared:

In 1872 the firm erected a handsome malt-house on the part of their property fronting on Charles Street, the remainder of the State Prison being used for brewing purposes, until 1879, when the demolition of the old structure commenced. In January, 1881 the new ale and porter brewery was completed, and in the same year they demolished the remainder of the prison. This was done in order that a large ice-house might be erected and the brewing of lager beer commenced.

As early as 1887 the brewery had also added a bottling department to the complex as evidenced by this March 27, 1887 notice that appeared in the New York Tribune.

A circa 1890’s advertisement shown below depicted the much larger brewery as it looked near the turn of the century and an 1890 New York Tribune story described it like this:

How many readers of the Tribune have ever visited a great brewing establishment? A little back from West Street stand the buildings of Beadleston & Woerz. From the river this pile of stone and brick resembles a huge fortress. Mr. Woerz said the other day that he had the capacity to brew 500,000 barrels a year but his present storage capacity limited him to a production of 300,000.

By this time they were one of the largest brewers in the country, a fact reinforced by a story that appeared in the March 4, 1898 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.


During the past week Milwaukee will break the record of the United States, if not the world, with the largest single shipment of malt ever made. The shipment is to be made by the American Malting Company from the plant of the Kraus-Merkel Company to the Beadleston & Woerz Brewing Company of New York City. The shipment in the aggregate will be 3,400,000 pounds of malt. To move this immense quantity of malt will require 100 cars, which will be divided into four solid trains. The first train left Milwaukee over the Northwestern Railroad and will be transferred to the Nickel Plate and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western road for shipment to its destination. The other three trains will follow as fast as they can be loaded, unless other orders crowd in to make delay necessary. From Chicago to New York two of the trains will go by the route given, and the other two will be shipped by the Lake Shore and the New York Central railroads. The extent of the shipment may be judged from the fact that it will make 51,200,000 glasses of beer.

The earliest newspaper advertisements that I can find for the Beadleston & Woerz product date back to 1887 and most reference their “Imperial” brand. According to court records in an 1896 trademark case (Beadleston & Woertz v. Cooke Brewing Company), the “Imperial” designation became connected with the business in 1885.

Prior to June, 1885, Beadleston & Woerz brewed several grades of beer, the best quality of which was designated as “Kulmbacher.” On the 30th of June, 1885, the firm purchased of the receiver of a defunct corporation, which had been engaged in the manufacture and sale of beer, the supposed title to the word “imperial” as a trademark when applied to beer, its use having been abandoned by such corporation.

This 1894 advertisement that appeared in the February 8, 1894 edition of Life Magazine claimed it to be the King of Beers (long before Budweiser).


They apparently sold a number of different beers under their “Imperial” Label. One called “Imperial German Brew” was introduced as a new brand in 1897. This early advertisement appeared in the May 12, 1897 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

A printed notice in the May 25, 1897 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described the new product like this:

Old Fashioned German Beer – Popular taste, like fashion, shows a pronounced tendency nowadays to return to the good old customs and enjoyments of our forefathers. This is particularly noticeable among customers of lager beer, who as a class, are showing preference, akin to an affection, for the old-fashioned German brewing. To gratify this growing demand Beadleston & Woerz, of New York, one of the largest breweries in the United States, have just introduced a new brand called Imperial German Brew, in which, by their strict adherence to malt and hops, exclusively, for the ingredients, the purity, flavor, color and body of the old-fashioned lager beer is reproduced to a degree of perfection that makes it identical to the product of fifty years ago. For the purposes of giving an immediate opportunity to persons desiring to try it Beadleston & Woerz will deliver it direct from the brewery, 291 West Tenth St., New York.

Another, “Imperial Stout,” was marketed as a “malted tonic and up-builder,” with this November 19, 1909 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement stating: “Is ideal for those who are recovering from illness or whose systems require a healthful and sustaining stimulant”

A pilsner called “Imperial Golden Label,” was also part of the “Imperial” family. Certainly directed toward the well-to-do, this advertisement appeared in the July 26, 1910 edition of the Wall Street Journal.

A recent archeological study done for the brewery site states that Prohibition shut the plant down permanently in 1920 but the business transitioned into real estate because of all the properties they owned. Apparently they didn’t waste much time. The December 16, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune contained the following story.

A large section of the Beadleston & Woerz Empire Brewery property, a landmark at 158-166 Charles Street, has been leased to the Reynolds Whitney Warehouse Co., Inc., for twenty years at an aggregate rental of $600,000. The warehouse company also secured an option to lease the buildings at 674 and 676 Washington Street and 287-303 West Tenth Street.

I’ve found two bottles, both tooled crowns probably in the 1900 to 1910 range. I’ve seen similar bottles on the Internet with their labels still present.


Bajorath, Long Island City

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Charles Bajorath appears to have been a small-scale bottler of lager beer that worked out of his residence. According to the 1910 census records he immigrated to the U.S. in 1886 but the first mention of him in the NYC Directory was in 1892 as a bottler with just a home listing at 428 E 92nd Street. Subsequently, he was listed sporadically (1903 Trow Business Directory and 1909 City Directory are the only listings I could find) as a beer bottler at 1735 Second Avenue.

In 1910 he moved to 461 Washington Avenue in Long Island City. The 1910 Census Records indicated that he had a beer bottling business that he ran out of his house and the 1912 Queens Business Directory listed him as a bottler of lager beer at the Washington Avenue address. In addition, the Annual Report of the State Commission of Excise listed him as a liquor tax certificate holder for the years 1911 and 1913. He was listed in the 1920 Census Records (name spelled incorrectly) but at this point he’s in his 70’s and did not list a business or occupation.

Washington Avenue was later renamed 36th Avenue in Long Island City. I can’t relate the No. 461 to any specific block.

The bottle I found is a brown champagne style bottle. It has “L. I. City” embossed on it, dating it to after his move to Long Island City in 1910. Interestingly it is machine made but has a blob finish (almost all machine made beer bottles that I’ve found have a crown finish).

A. Busch Bottling Co., Brooklyn NY

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The A. Busch Bottling Company came into existence on July 8, 1897 when the Thimig Bottling Company of Brooklyn New York officially changed its name. The legal notice announcing the name change was printed in the June 7, 1897 edition of the Brooklyn Times Union. The notice, in part, read:

Now on motion of David F. Manning, attorney for the said pertitioner, no one opposing, it is

Ordered that said petition be and the same hereby is granted, and that the petitioner herein, the Thimig Bottling Company, be and it hereby is authorized to assume another corporate name, to wit, the A. Busch Bottling Company, on and after the 8th day of July, 1897…

The roots of the business however date back as far as 1865 when a German immigrant named Herman Thimig arrived in the United States and began business in Thompkinsville, Staten Island. According to Thimig’s December 27, 1892 obituary in the Brooklyn Citizen:

He had nothing when he arrived here, but his frank manner soon won the confidence of Abram Meyers, the brewer, who started him in business on Staten Island within six months after his arrival. Here he bottled his first beer in this country, and his first order delivered in Brooklyn was two dozen bottles. He continued in business at Staten Island about one year, during which time, his business steadily increased, and in 1866 he moved to this city (Brooklyn), where he has since been located.

A feature on Thimig, published in the September 21, 1890 edition of the Brooklyn Citizen picks up the story from there describing his start in Brooklyn.

After searching for a suitable place in which to start, he selected No. 283 Atlantic Avenue, near Smith Street and here his career as a Brooklyn bottler commenced…The different kinds of beer that he put up gained such a reputation that people wanted to drink it at his establishment. Of course all this was highly satisfactory to Mr. Thimig, but he found that he had to start a retail store to accommodate the new class of customers. Therefore “Thimigs” sprang into existence at No. 288 Atlantic Avenue.

It was an advertisement for his retail store or saloon in the April 26, 1884 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that provided the earliest evidence I can find connecting Thimig with Anheuser-Busch.

The 1890 feature went on to describe the growth of the bottling business.

But while his saloon was prospering his bottling business was increasing to such an extent that he had to separate that establishment from the saloon, consequently he bought the premises Nos. 50 and 52 Bergen Street, which comprise three buildings and where his bottling is done today (1890). It has been stated that when he started to bottle at Staten Island he only got rid of four dozen a day.

Now he bottles 1,ooo dozen a day and the three Bergen Street buildings are altogether too small. He has two sets of men, one of which works in the day and the other at night time, and still he is pressed. It should be said here that Mr. Thimig owns the property at 285 and 288 (Atlantic). He has twenty horses there and eight wagons are on the go all the time, while there are four extra wagons which are almost always in requisition.

Ultimately the demands of the bottling business necessitated that he sell the saloon which he did in 1888 to long time employee Charles Hoefer.

This ever increasing business was certainly the result of Thimig’s association with the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Co., where at the time he was serving as their sole agent for Brooklyn and Long Island. In 1890, their association led to joint construction of a new depot and bottling establishment at 433-435 Atlantic Avenue. According to the 1890 Brooklyn Citizen feature:

With the business therefore increasing every day, it became very plain to Mr. Thimig that the present factory was altogether inadequate, and that he would have to secure larger quarters to meet the growing demands for his bottled goods. He, therefore, purchased the lots on Atlantic Avenue, on which his immense bottling establishment is in the course of erection, and the building is going up under the joint direction of the Anheuser-Busch Association and Mr. Thimig. Mr. Thimig owns the ground, not only on which the building will stand, but also purchased an additional plot having a frontage of fifty feet, and which is designed for an extension to the structure should business demand it. While the Anheuser-Busch Association is in reality backing Mr. Thimig in the erection of the building, still an agreement has been entered into by which the latter gentleman can acquire the full ownership. It will be the largest bottling establishment in New York or Brooklyn and will cost $100,000.

A description of the new building, along with a rendering, was included with the feature and it indicated that this venture appeared to be a pretty good deal for Thimig. Not only was he getting new facilities for his business but he got new living quarters as well.

The structure will cover a plot of ground 106 x 54 feet. The front of the building will be of fancy brick and the interior will be of wood and iron. The first floor will be used as a store and bottling establishment and will be handsomely fitted up. The second floor will be used for office purposes, and part of it will be fixed up with private apartments for the use of Herman Thimig, who is to have charge of the establishment. The third and fourth floors will be used for storage purposes for a time

Unfortunately Thimig didn’t get to enjoy his new facility very long because two years later, in December, 1892, he passed away. At that point Herman’s son, Adolph B Thimig, assumed control of the business. According to the 1890 Brooklyn Citizen feature he had been running the day to day operation of the business for some time. As early as January 1, 1893 this Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement referred to the business as “H. Thimig & Son.”

Still formally known as the Thimig Bottling Co., the business incorporated later that year. The incorporation notice was published in the December 19, 1893 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Another notice, this one in the December 22, 1893 edition of the Eagle named Carl Conrad as president and Adolph B. Thimig as treasurer of the corporation. The change in name to the A. Busch Bottling Company followed four years later.

The A Busch Bottling Co was listed in all of the Brooklyn City Directories and Telephone Directories I could find between 1899 and 1917 at 433-435 Atlantic Avenue. Adolph Thimig passed away at the age of 37 in February, 1902. Whether or not he was still associated with the business at that point is not clear. The 1913-1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens listed the business as a N. Y. Corporation with E A Faust as President; J Alfred Piper as Vice Pesident and H P Hof as Secretary and Treasurer.

Around the time the A Busch Bottling Company was established they were bottling several different Anheuser-Busch brands. An advertising item in the October 11, 1900 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle named them as wholesale dealers for the following bottled beers: Budweiser, Faust, Black & Tan, Anheuser Standard, Export Pale, Exquisite and Pale Lager.

Other advertisements in that time frame mentioned Michelob as well.

Another product they distributed early on was a tonic called “Malt-Nutrine, the helpful food drink to promote appetite, restore health, build body and brain.”

During the early 1900’s, Anheuser-Busch and primarily the Budweiser brand was growing leaps and bounds. This growth was documented by A Busch Bottling Company advertisements that indicated that Budweiser sales went from 83 million bottles to 130 million bottles in just the two years from 1902 to 1904.


As Prohibition was getting underway the company was still in operation as evidenced by advertisements for a soft drink called “Bevo” that appeared in Brooklyn newspapers from 1917 to 1919.

These advertisements disappear in 1920 and the A Busch Bottling Company was not listed in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens so it appears that the company did not survive even the earliest stages of National Prohibition. Anheuser-Busch was still marketing products in New York at that time, including a tonic version of Budweiser and Anheuser Busch Ginger Ale, but by the early 1920’s their advertisements listed the Anheuser-Busch Ice & Cold Storage Co., Inc. as their distributor. An advertisement from July 1, 1924 listed that company’s address as 48 Warren Street in Brooklyn. Other advertisements also listed a 166th Street address in NYC.

Later, Anheuser-Busch listed Anheuser-Busch Inc. at 515 West 16th Street as their distributor for their “Budweiser Barley Malt Syrup.” that was first marketed in 1926. According to a June 1933 advertisement, that location was serving as the Anheuser Busch-New York Branch when Prohibition ended.

Today, 433 to 443 Atlantic Avenue is a series of renovated apartment buildings. They don’t appear old enough to be associated with this business but the other side of Atlantic Avenue appears older.

I have found two champagne style bottles both with tooled crowns. They are embossed with the A Busch Bottling Co. name so they date no earlier than 1897. I’d say they fit within the first half of the 1897 to 1917 time frame of the business.